UIEtips: How to Create a UX Design Library

Jared Spool

September 14th, 2010

I got it wrong. It was the other day when I was talking with EightShapes’ Nathan Curtis while recording an upcoming podcast.

As we were talking, I had suggested that a UX Design Library was a snapshot of what the team felt the future of the design would be like. “Oh, no,” Nathan exclaimed! “I strongly disagree with that idea.” He went on to say that the library really was a snapshot of the past, not the future. A great library represents the best and most promising pieces of the design, so that future work could take advantage of what can be done.

Creating a library that works for the team isn’t technically challenging. However, there are important considerations and steps that the team needs to make sure it’s a success.

In today’s UIEtips, Nathan walks us through the process of creating a library. He’s broken it down into four doable steps (and even has a fabulous poster-grade visualization of the process). You’re really going to enjoy his article.

Read Nathan’s article, How to Create a UX Design Library.

One of the best things about my job is that I get to talk with Nathan on a regular basis. Every conversation we have is eye opening and amazing. You can have that same opportunity when you sign up for the UI15 conference. Nathan will deliver his fabulous full-day workshop, Standards, Reuse, Consistency, & Libraries, where you’ll learn how to capture the best of your work for the future. Read more about the workshops.

Have you put together your own library? How did it go? We’d love to hear about your experiences below.

User Interface Conference FifteenExplore Nathan’s workshop and the full conference program. Register for UI15 by September 22 with promotion code BLOGPOST and get $400 off.

2 Responses to “UIEtips: How to Create a UX Design Library”

  1. Roger Belveal Says:

    Good article. I’ve been through this and Nathan’s point is right on. Standardization is what do with what has been already built, proven to work, and deemed reusable or extensible. Componentizing is a special activity best undertaken by a librarian or specialized team. It is difficult to get it to happen spontaneously. It takes some deliberate investment and a savvy approach, but is worthwhile.

    A reusable component is like a season pass to Sea World or Six Flags. No one is willing to invest in it for a single visit. But it will usually pay for itself after the second or third use. And after that, every visit is virtually free.

    In the end, developers are users too. If you want them to do something, like design per the standard UI Look and feel, you have to make it easier than the alternative. A reusable components library can help do that. But like a lot of things in the land of Oz, these things have to be done very carefully or you spoil the magic.

    Roger Belveal

  2. Jagannath Joshi Says:

    Very nice, thank you for sharing a wonderful article. It’s been long time I was checking that, organizing the deliverables. I am kind of to keep the things organized, so this awesome poster reveals beyond my expectation. However, I’m still digging more into this, as, are there any standard folder structure for maintaining guidelines/wireframes/codes etc.

    - Jagannath Joshi

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